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Tech Showcase: Routers and Switchers

The critical point at which operators interface with signal routing gear is one that has seen a quantum leap in features and capabilities while the manufacturers have been creative in their approach to maintaining user friendliness. Getting signals from one device to another is basic and when there is transport trouble it’s a sure-fire show stopper. Take operator ease and add multi-format compatibility along with digital video extension and you have the solid foundation that many of today’s switching and routing tools have built-in.

The ANI-88HDRH 8×8 HDMI 6G Matrix from A-Neuvideo connects up to 8 sources and displays with full support for 6G resolutions up to and including 4K@60Hz. Its capabilities include selecting between built-in default EDID and data copied from connected sink devices, as well as using a configurable EDID. Active extenders can be powered from the switcher’s 8 USB ports. The built-in OSD can display user editable general information text and the unit can be remotely operated through RS-232, Telnet, WebGUI and IR.

AJA Video Systems put the routing power of a larger unit into a compact 2 rack space device with the Kumo 3232-12G router. Supporting 12G-SDI/6G-SDI/3G-SDI/1.5G-SDI, the unit is controllable through an embedded web server, via serial commands or locally. Up to eight salvos can be stored and recalled, each of which is setup with predefined sources to specific destinations. Optional control panels, the KUMO CP2 and KUMO CP, can be used in standalone or networked configurations. There is also a redundant power supply option and a USB port for IP address configuration.

Accurately named, the Altinex Digital MultiTasker can be custom suited to the facility and it can leave room for any needed expansion or change in formats. In its card slots can be placed the MT312-104 control card, the MT305-804 8×4 HDMI Matrix Switcher, the MT315-101 HDMI Over Anywire Transmit Card, the MT315-102 HDMI Over Anywire Receive Card, the MT317-101 HDMI Over Fiber Optic Transmit Card, the MT317-102 HDMI Over Fiber Optic Receive Card, and the MT310-104 16×16 Stereo Audio Matrix Switcher in any combination.

Combining switching, scaling and distance transport into a single kit that includes both a transmitter and receiver, the CTC-1402 Conferencing Connectivity and Transport Kit from AMX also features USB 2.0 peripheral switching. These features make it perfect for conference rooms where USB microphones and cameras are shared between attendee laptops and the room devices. The front panel includes a tri-color LED status indicator and input selection buttons along with active input LED lights and relay controls.

Analog Way designed the Ascender 48 – 4K – PL around their LiveCore platform as a multi-screen seamless switcher with 12 inputs and 48 input plugs, independent preview/mosaic/monitoring output and full live preview of all sources. The monitoring layout can be customized and stored in 8 separate templates. Inputs include 6 HDMI, 9 DVI-I, 3 DisplayPort, 12 3G/HD/SD-SDI and 12 universal analog connections. There are universal analog, DVI-I, and 3G/HD/SDSDI along with a Video Optical SFP module cage. This is a rugged rack mount unit with an intuitive user interface and an advanced cooling system. 

Featuring HDBaseT outputs for transmission of HDMI, Ethernet pass through, bidirectional IR and RS-232 control signals up to 330 feet, the new Opus line of HDMI-to-HDBaseT matrix switchers from Atlona are suited for residential or light commercial applications. The AT-Opus-46M (4×6), AT-Opus-68M and the AT-Opus-810M (8×10) made their debut at the Cedia Expo 2018. These switchers are HDCP 2.2-compliant and support 4K/ UHD video at 60Hz with 4:4:4 Chroma sampling, as well as HDMI data rates up to 18 Gbps. All three models provide routing to HDBaseT outputs plus two additional HDMI outputs.

The Aurora Multimedia 4th Generation Digital Xtreme Series DXM-884-G4 is a modular card-based 4K60 4:4:4 matrix switch with the versatility to be configured to suit a wide variety of switching applications. The hot-swappable I/O cards are compatible with HDMI, HDBaseT and SDI formats and four of the slots can be either inputs or outputs. Control options include the front panel 5in. touch screen, Web server, RS232 and LAN. Features include advanced EDID, HDCP, and data handling capabilities. 

Another highly customizable design, the Black Box AVS1600 modular video matrix switcher, can seamlessly switch 16 sources to 16 displays using built-in scaling and format conversion. Sound and 4K video can be extended up to 230ft. with HDBaseT and the I/O is configurable through any combination of the four input and four output cards, each of which has four selectable digital and analog channels including HDMI, HDBaseT, DVI-D, DVI-I, VGA, composite, component and S-Video.

One of three Blackmagic Design models of multi viewers that show independent SDI video sources on a single HD or Ultra HD display, the MultiView 16 uses router style controls, an LCD and menu spin knob on the front panel. With these, overlays can be added and the layout can be set at 2×2, 3×3 or a 4×4 grid with any single source available full-screen. There is full frame resynchronization on all SDI inputs so that each input is fully independent. The unit’s appearance is suitable for a control room setting and it is rugged enough for the road. 

The ClearOne CONVERGE MATRIX mixer and router uses Dante audio-over-IP networking to handle up to 512 x 512 audio channels. The smaller models of the mixer are all field-upgradable with expansion cards. With full matrix and filtered matrix views, groups and zones can be configured. It is compatible with all ClearOne CONVERGE units and it works with any 3rd party Dante products. There are primary and secondary network ports on rear panel Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 connectors.

For the larger signal routing installations Crestron has the DM-MD64x64 DigitalMedia switcher with lossless HD signal distribution over CAT type twisted pair copper or fiber optic cable. Capable of handling SD, HD, UHD, 2K, 4K, and computer signals, the system offers advanced HDCP support, USB signal routing, an integrated Ethernet switch, CEC signal management along with its wide variety of input and output signal formats. For additional reliability it also features hot-swappable redundant power supplies.

Consisting of multiple transmitter and receiver endpoints, a 10GbE network switch and a DisplayNet Server, the DisplayNet system can be used for routing, matrix switching, multiviewing and signal extension. The number of endpoints in a DisplayNet system is only limited by the number of available 10GbE switch ports, and any switch port can be assigned to a Tx or Rx unit. The DisplayNet server (DNS-100 or DNS200), a 1RU fanless rackmount PC running Windows 10 Professional, is used to control and manage the system.

Extron has recently introduced its new Quantum Ultra 4K Videowall Processor with HyperLane Bus as a scalable 4K/60 videowall processor. The system’s HyperLane video bus has a total throughput of 400 Gbps to accommodate the bandwidth needs of windowing simultaneous HD and 4K sources. It can manage 4K video as a single, dual, or quad-path signal, for flexibility when working with 4K sources, peripherals, and displays. The Quantum Ultra allows seamless cut and fade through black transition effects and it can store image file types, including JPEG, PNG, and bitmaps for use as backgrounds.

The FSR DV-MFSS-71 is a 1RU rack mount 7×1 multi-format switcher that includes 4 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 DVI-I, and 1 VGA/ RGB/YPbPr input and 1 HDMI output supporting resolutions up to 4k x 2k 30hz. Each video input has a corresponding audio input on a captive screw terminal. The unit can be controlled on the front panel, via RS-232, or IP via the integrated GUI Control. Suitable for video walls, digital signage, auditoriums, conference rooms and broadcast control, the DV-MFSS-71 is versatile. Each of the inputs is scaled to match the output resolution and switching between them is glitch-free and instantaneous. 

For displaying four HD sources on one 4K Ultra HD display the EXT-UHD600AMVSL-41 4K 600 MHz 4×1 Multiview Seamless Switcher from Gefen can show one source on the whole display or individually scale and position the source images as needed. Audio from any of the four HDMI sources can be selected via IR, RS-232, or IP, for playback through the HDMI output and the L/R analog audio output. Commonly used display arrangements are stored as factory presets recallable on the front panel buttons, onscreen interface, or the web server interface.

With support for HDMI resolutions up to 4K@30Hz and 4K@60 Hz, the Hall Research HSM-88-4K matrix can save and recall multiple 8×8 routing configuration PRESETs and the two-line character LCD on its front panel displays the current video routing setup. Its EDID management allows a selectable EDID for each input from a list of 15 internal configurations or the use of EDID from any monitor connected to the outputs. The switcher is controllable through RS232, IR or the front panel buttons. It includes rack brackets and a 12VDC/2.5A power supply.

The IDK FDX-32UHD accepts any combination of available HDMI, DVI or HDBaseT input/output boards. Input and output boards are available in 4-input, 4-output, providing various I/O size combinations with sizes from 4×4 to 32×32. The system can input/output HDCP protected contents such as Blu-ray, and it can support DVI signals by using HDMI to DVI connector conversion cables. The unit can be externally controlled through RS232 and Ethernet. Digital video and analog audio can be switched separately using the optional MAU-3232 audio matrix switcher.

IHSE’s Draco Compact XV 16×8 Fiber Matrix system for Dual Head display workstations is designed to meet the extreme bandwidth requirements for sharing multiple UHD and DCI Cinema video signals in the same switch fabric. It is a fixed size KVM system supporting up to 16 Dual Head 4K computers and 8 Dual Head 4K monitors at resolutions up to 4096×2160 60fps, and 4:4:4 color sampling on each display. The system can be configured using the on-screen display (OSD) or through the included Draco tera tool software for configuration and real-time diagnostics.

The KanexPro 6×6 Matrix is an HDMI 2.0 to HDBaseT switcher that provides 4K/60Hz video with Dolby Vision and HDR 10 along with multi-channel digital audio from six HDMI sources to four HDBaseT outputs and two HDMI 2.0 outputs. The HDBaseT outputs allow transmission via a single CAT5e/6/7 cable up to 230 ft. with PoC (power over cable) and the independent HDMI outputs support cables up to 33 ft. The switcher features an independent 18×12 digital audio matrix. Control options include the front panel, IR, RS-232, Telnet and Web GUI or any 3rd party control system.

The all-in-one presentation system with matrix switching, room control, PoE and power amplification from Kramer Electronics is the VS-88UT. 8×8 switching for resolutions up to 4K@60Hz (4:2:0) can be controlled through RS232, RS485, IR, GPI/O, and relay ports. Audio support includes balanced/ unbalanced stereo audio and de−embedded audio sources that output to embedded audio, balanced stereo audio as well as a power amplifier output. The unit can also provide power to auxiliary room controllers via the KNET connectors.

With the capability to manually or automatically switch between up to four HDMI sources, the Digitalinx DL-S41-H2 from Liberty AV Solutions has an HDMI output along with a de-embedded analog audio output. Featuring front panel, IR and RS232 control, the switcher supports EDID management, CEC pass through control of source/display and it handles video resolutions up to 4k@60Hz, 4:4:4 with 8 bit deep color. The unit is only a half-inch tall and includes a Micro USB Firmware update port.

Among Lightware’s switching solutions is the MMX8x4-HT420M, a standalone 8×4 matrix system designed for conference rooms. Its four HDMI and four TPS inputs are routed to two HDMI and two TPS outputs with 3D and HDCP support. The system extends DVI or HDMI 1.4, Ethernet, RS232 and IR over one CAT5/6/7 cable. It also has a built-in microphone preamplifier and sound mixer, audio embedding and de-embedding, PoE power injector and an Event Manager automation feature. The rack mounted unit has front to back cooling airflow.

For small footprint switching, Marshall offers the VMV-402-SH, a quad viewer/ switcher that shows four SDI video signals with independent audio meters. Pre-programmed with five default quad-view layouts, the unit is for presentation and control room environments and its embedded processor converts signals from input sources to match the native resolution of monitors, flat panel displays and projectors, with user-selectable output settings up to 4K2K 60HZ (HDMI output). Control options include USB, IR, and Ethernet.

The Opticis OMM-1000 can use general PC software like Hyperlink terminal, telnet or a web browser to switch up to 16 DVI, HDMI, SDI or DisplayPort sources to 16 different digital displays. Configuration is done with four input/output cards and each has four separate ports for input and output. The rackmount unit is controlled with front panel assignment buttons or command line entries. Remote operation is done through RS232 or Ethernet. There is an embedded video signal generator and diagnostic function to assist in installation and setup. 

Pesa has the Cougar 3 digital routing switcher that supports redundant power and control, networking and the option for either a local or remote control panel. A 32×32 configuration, the system has re-clockers on each output to allow signals to be re-generated at the appropriate data rate for SMPTE compliant SDI-SDI, HD-SDI, or 3G-SDI. Each Cougar 3 includes the CATTRAX control software which allows setup of physical X/Y pushbutton control panels, custom on-screen user panels, or routing capabilities directly from a PC desktop.

The MAX-216 is a completely modular, cross-platform matrix switcher from PureLink designed for large plant operations supporting HDMI 2.0, 12G-SDI, and 4K/60 4:4:4 via native and IP architectures in any combination required. The system features hot-swappable, field upgradable I/O cards, MCU, cooling modules, and power supplies. The unit’s AirLift cooling system provides lateral air flow/direct cooling powered by modular blade units, each composed of eight fans. Its iAxis option has a detachable, front panel tablet control for wireless/mobile command of the Media Axis’ matrix and IP switching capabilities from anywhere. Media Axis is available with configurations from 20×20 to 216×216.

Small to mid-size switching operations can effectively use the Rose Electronics UltraMatrix AV HD 16×16 HDMI matrix switcher to reliably route HD video among all sources and displays. Handling video resolution up to 1920×1200, the unit allows flexible front panel operation. It can also be controlled by RS232 using a PC Windows based software, through a web browser (on some models), optional IR remote, or optional TCP/IP controller. Repetitive switching sequences can be recorded and saved in any of 50 macros for playback at any time.

Now power-over-cable (POC) enabled, the Binary matrix line of switchers from SnapAV include Ethernet, RS-232 control, and IR controlled routing. Each uses a single Cat5e/6 cable to transmit HDMI signals and bidirectional IR up to 230 ft. As with the other models, the B-520-MTRX-230-8×8 has on each output an HDMI terminal for local display and an HDBaseT output to use with a receiver for the long distance video. EDID settings can be configured using the included remote control or convenient PC configuration utility. Three EDID modes are provided for ultimate flexibility – Auto, Embedded and Learning.

The TechLogix Networx TL-6X1-HDV can manage connections by up to six different users. The system automatically senses when someone plugs in and makes their device live to the display. Newer devices with HDMI can connect right beside older VGA sources. Secondary audio-video inputs, such as BluRay players, dedicated computers, and cable boxes can also be used. There are four HDMI and two VGA inputs whose signals can be scaled up to WUXGA and output through HDMI. In addition to the auto-sensing, there is manual switching through RS232 and front panel controls.

Tekvox designed the TekFlex 32 Matrix Switcher to be customizable for the specific application through selection of the types of input and output units slid into the mainframe slots. The frame has a total of 24 card slots with flexible input/output combinations and 8 fixed output card slots. These may be HDMI, DVI, SDI, VGA or HDBaseT and they are automatically recognized by the system. Also featured are EDID management and a web based GUI. All outputs have adjustable output resolution and are controllable via front panel buttons, IR, RS232 & TCP/IP.

Designed to allow the distribution of HDMI 2.0a (with HDCP) sources to multiple display devices independently or all at the same time, the TVOne MX-6588 4K HDR, HDMI 2.0 matrix switcher is controlled through the front panel, infrared remote control or the TVOne control software, MX-tools. 3D signals are also supported. Sound supports 7.1 audio capability including DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD. Once the system is installed up to 16 signal routing presets can be saved and all this functionality is packed into a single RU rack size unit.

For high-density SDI coupled with the ability to create high-density IP signals from the same central frame, Utah Scientific has developed their new 400 Series 3 hybrid IP/SDI platform for handling both IP and SDI for all 288 inputs and outputs and a variety of audio formats. From standard definition and analog signals all the way up to 3G and HD resolutions, the Utah Scientific 400 Series 3 can handle both SMPTE ST-2022 as well as the new SMPTE ST-2110.

The Wyrestorm MX-1616-HDBT-H2X is an HDBaseT switcher that includes a 48×16 audio matrix and DSP. To each of the 16 video zones can be sent 10-bit HDR, control, Ethernet and PoH up to 230ft. The unit provides two EDID management systems—SmartEDID and AVR Priority Mode—and these constantly monitor source routing. Operating independently of the video system, the audio matrix uses audio de-embedded from the video sources, separate audio devices via S/PDIF and ARC or optical audio return from HDBaseT zones.

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